This article will cover the best revision tips you can implement right away.
During my undergraduate studies, I faced a learning environment that was completely different from primary and secondary school.
You’re more independent. You take learning into your own hands.
During this, I’ve experimented with new revision methods to better adapt to this fast-paced environment.
I pushed my GPA from a lower B to a solid A which allowed me to graduate with a Cum Laude distinction.
Did I get substantially smarter throughout this time period? I don’t think so.
I simply experimented with different strategies and techniques, and found the ones that worked for me!
Today, I’ll cover this topic and give you actionable revision techniques and tips to ace your upcoming exams, regardless if you’re a university or a secondary school student.
If you want the quick version, you can see it below.
#5: Use Study Apps
The first step to acing all your exams is knowing exactly when they are going to happen.
Keeping track of all your assignments and exams is essential, especially since their frequency and difficulty level is only going to increase as you progress through educational levels.
Here’s what I would recommend.
Keep track of exam dates using an online calendar that syncs with all your devices. This will allow you to set up reminders for easier tracking.
However, if you prefer a more traditional method, you can write it down in a pen and attach it to your bedroom wall.
Another great way is to keep a paper notepad and write all the important dates on it.
Each exam and subject is different, so the time you will need to prepare for it will also vary.
By keeping track of all your exams and setting reminders, you will not only make sure to never forget about the test but will also always give you enough time to prepare for them.
I would suggest starting at least a week before for small exams.
However, for important ones, I suggest as least two weeks, so as to have enough time to learn forgotten materials, and more importantly—revise.
When it comes to making an actual revision plan, I suggest checking for the number of days you have until your exam and dividing it by the number of topics you still need to study or revise.
Leave one day (preferably the one right before the exam) for the biggest revision session covering all topics.
People study and retain better with frequent revisions rather than a single large and packed session.
So I suggest the following.
Let’s say you have 8 days until your exam, so you have 7 days to revise, assuming you leave one day right before the exam for a large revision session.
Divide all the topics you need to revise into 7 groups and start by making concise notes from each topic on the day assigned to it.
So, on day 1 you make notes from topic 1, on day 2 you make notes from topic 2, and so on.
Then, introduce another layer to your revisions by going through the topic you studied on the previous day.
Thus, on day 2, you go back to your notes from day 1 (so topic 1), then on day 3, you go back to your notes from day 2, and so on.
By doing that, not only do you learn simply by doing concise notes from each topic, but also, on the following day you go back to what you learned before, which will only deepen your understanding.
An example of a study plan looks as follows (when there are 7 days until your exams and you grouped your topics into 7 parts):
- Day 1: Make notes from topic 1.
- Day 2: Make notes from topic 2 and revise topic 1.
- Day 3: Make notes from topic 3 and revise topic 2.
- Day 4: Make notes from topic 4 and revise topic 3.
Continue with that for the rest of the topics.
Finally, on the day right before the exam, you will go through all of the notes you wrote and go through them one by one. Some of them will be more fresh than the others, since naturally, you did them more recently.
You will straight away see which topics you’re more familiar with and able to focus on those which still need more work!
Let’s move on with more knowledge on revision tips.
As you probably know by now, we are all substantially different in the way we react to various subjects and study times.
Some people prefer to study in the morning.
Some prefer to study in short intervals.
Some need to use colours to best memorise their notes.
Here, it is essential to remember that there is no right or wrong answer, rather there is only an answer which is right for you.
Therefore, it is critical to find what works best for you, as it will allow you to maximise your revision efficiency while minimising the time and effort needed for it.
Figuring it out takes time and can only be done by practising with a variety of different study techniques and assessing how you react to them.
To do that, start by answering the following questions.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Picking the period of the day during which you study is one of the most important factors in maximising your revision efficiency.
For me personally, 8 am until 1 pm is the time at which I get 90% of my brain-intensive work done.
Do you prefer to work in quiet spaces or with music on?
Some people get distracted very easily by the slightest of external noises.
Some prefer to hear some sounds in the background.
Being in the first group is more difficult since finding a quiet study space is limited.
If you are struggling, investing in noise-cancelling headphones can be a way to go! They’re very affordable and can help during your revisions.
How long is your attention span?
Nowadays, people’s attention span is on average substantially lower than it used to be, so traditional revision techniques may not work.
Not to worry, however.
There are effective techniques which can be used by people who cannot concentrate for very long.
The most prominent one is called the Pomodoro Technique, during which you study in intervals of 30 minutes studying, and 5-minute breaks.
By answering these three questions you will be able to better assess what study techniques to use to maximise your chances of acing your next exams!
By far the best exam revision technique.
When studying for finals, especially high school or university finals, learning to use past exam papers is by far the most useful way of revising. This is also something we often mention in our workshops and webinars.
Knowing a subject and acing an exam on the subject are often two completely different things. Whenever you have a chance of going through past papers to prepare for your upcoming finals, make use of it.
Learn and revise by simply answering real exam-style questions.
Learn the type of questions you will have to write or answer.
What you will notice is that oftentimes, the questions posed are repetitive. That’s because there is only so much material that can be asked about.
Also, it can happen that the structure of the question is the same across all exams (e.g. you may be asked to write a 3-paragraph essay).
Learning how to do the exam is as important as simply studying the subject.
Find all past papers you can and solve them carefully.
Time yourself while doing that to properly imitate exam conditions.
Don’t use a calculator or a formula sheet if you will not be allowed to use it on your actual exam.
If it’s a writing exam, practice writing essays by hand (instead of on a laptop) if your exams require you to do it.
To put it simply, make sure to perform a proper trial version of an exam at home before you sit it.
Using new technological tools to enhance your studying capabilities is a great way to move one step closer to acing your finals.
Many are free, so possibilities are limitless if those tools are applied correctly.
Below are the top 5 study apps to bring your revisions to a new level.
Evernote is a fantastic app which can be used to organise your notes across multiple topics and subjects.
It allows you to perform various text operations to make it more visible or visually appealing, and can also be easily synchronised across multiple devices.
If you are proceeding with a study plan, this app can be a great way to start.
Quizlet is useful for reviewing topics you are not fully familiar with yet.
It allows you to revise them by creating your flashcards, or you can use the ones created by other students (some of your classmates perhaps!).
Those flashcards can be used to create quizzes, which will allow you to test your knowledge and monitor your progress.
Pocket allows you to easily organise the information you find while researching or simply scrolling through the web.
When writing long essays or theses, you will struggle with having hundreds of potential sources and articles.
This app will allow you to nicely organise them.
It can further be integrated easily with Twitter, Facebook, Evernote, and many more!
This app combined with Evernote will give you all you need to proceed with creating a study plan as previously mentioned.
MyHomework works like a calendar which will help you stay on top of all your assignment and exam deadlines.
It was created by mostly targeting STEM students who struggle with memorising or categorising all their formulas.
It stores over 1500 from 200 topics across a variety of STEM subjects!
In this article, we covered actionable revision techniques and tips to ace your exams.
Putting effort into creating a revision plan tailored to your own needs is essential to acing your next finals.
Starting early and finding a study method which works for you, and then creating a plan based on those, will be extremely beneficial on your educational path.
Yet, simply making a plan and even sticking to it is very often not enough.
Going through as many past papers as possible (if they are available) and imitating exam conditions beforehand will give you not only theoretical but also practical tools essential for your success.
Lastly, make sure to use new technological advancements to your advantage, and implement them into your revision routine. A lot of them are free and allow you to seamlessly keep track of all the materials and deadlines.
Still confused about how to study effectively?
Fortunately, we have tutors and consultants who can help you effectively implement these techniques.
We once were in the same shoes as you are, worried about tackling exams, but in the end, we all managed to graduate from top universities.
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